#readit2011 – The last post

December 19, 2011

Well it’s nearly the end of 2011 and I’m tempted to say “wow, that was fast” but, as I look back through all the postings on this blog I realise, yes, it is the end of the year and yes, we’ve written and read, a lot. Some of us have discovered writing skills we were unsure we possessed, some have mastered technology, some have just shown their sublime writing talents and at least one has knitted her way through the every topic of discussion.  However, none of this would useful without you, the readers and twitterers who have joined us in our journey this year.

So, we hope you have found #readit2011 useful, informative and entertaining. We’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has contributed to,  read this blog and joined us monthly on Twitter. I have been inspired to read things I would previously have shunned and I hope I have inspired the same for others.  Our Twitter conversations have encompassed an amazing range of subjects, with an amazing group of people and we have enjoyed some of the funniest,  shorthand conversations on record. We’ve even been trending on occasion.

We are really proud to have won the Social Media Category award at the 2011 NSW Public Library Marketing Awards for our work on  #readit2011.  We’re also thrilled to be nominated in this year’s Edublog awards.

We’ve put in a lot of hours creating  #readit2011 but it has been fun.  It would be remiss of me not to thank the fantastic Readers Advisory Working Group team for their creative, technological,  informational and inspirational writing and ideas, but… this is not the end!

We’ll be back in January as #love2read2012 encouraging everyone to read as the National Year of Reading kicks off around Australia.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope your holidays are overflowing with time to read, read, read!


PS. I know you’ll want to peek so here’s where we are in 2012 http://love2read2012.wordpress.com/

We’ll be tweeting about our Amazing Reads on Tuesday 31st January, 8pm AEST. We look forward to your company.


#summerreads discussion tonight

December 13, 2011

The #summerreads discussion will take place tonight 8pm AEST.


Use hash tags #summerreads to discuss your reading this summer, or what you are planning on reading.

A Summer to Cry

December 12, 2011

Lois Lowry‘s first novel A Summer to Die left me crying. Not a dainty sniffle. But a red eyed, snotty, gulping, sobbing, guttural pain that tears through your throat and lungs to the pit of your stomach. In the book, sisters Meg and Molly have petty, angry squabbling particularly when they move to the country and need to share a bedroom. As the year goes by, Meg becomes ill and (no spoiler here as you know the ending due to the title) eventually dies.

I love so many aspects of this book but one that stands out in my mind is the description of photographs and their importance in capturing emotions yet this is illustrated only in words. For in this book, one thousand words are far better than a picture.


great #summerreads and nominations for Edublog awards

December 2, 2011

The team at #readit2011 have two nominations to make for the Edublog awards. We can’t decide between them as they are both fabulous library blogs.

Best librarian / library blog

Readers in the Mist is managed by Blue Mountains City Library. The blog has great posts inspiring reading and fun with reading. It is entertaining, and engaging.

Read @ UTS comes from the library at the University of Technology, Sydney. This blog encourages people in their reading. It has the great Teaser Tuesdays, a weekly discussion of themed reading ideas.

These are both exceptional library blogs with strong identities and ideas which are fun to read.

They will both make excellent #summerreads

#Summerreads (what to read when it’s hot or hot-reading)

December 1, 2011

Summer  – the season of sunshine, holidays, relaxation. Long evenings to languish with a good book. That’s what they’d like you to think. In reality, summer can means frantically running around organising that last Christmas present, food shopping, cleaning the house, mothering children  etc. ect. That is until… Boxing Day. Then my summer of reading begins.

I have a list.

A long list.

Hot reading, all of them.

I have something for everyone on the list. How-to guides, a couple of biographies and some wicked crime fiction for the menfolk. Plenty of picture books, Where’s Wally and I spy to keep the little ones amused. For school age children, join the Summer Reading Club?  This year’s theme is “The Amazing Read”. Find some gruesome facts in the Ripley’s “Believe it or not” series, catch up on Zac Power’s, the Beastie Boys’  and  Geronimo Stilton’s latest escapades and read about the latest fairy from Daisy Meadows. Seen the movie? Now read the books  – try Harry Potter and Diary of a wimpy kid. For teenagers I’m thinking vampires, steampunk and graphic novels.

Now if you haven’t planned a holiday recently, summertime is exactly the time to start.  Lonely Planet, Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness travel will have you travelling through exotic landscapes or testing your strength climbing mountains. I’m looking forward to some new cookbooks (reading not necessarily cooking), some light romantic fiction… so what about you?

What will be your hot reads this summer?  Maybe they’ll be cool reads? Whatever they are, make plenty of time for them.

Don’t forget out Twitter Reading Group.  Our last discussion for 2011 will be on Tuesday December 13th, 8pm AEST. Use hash tags #summerreads #readit2011


Romulus My Father

November 30, 2011

Romulus, My Father / Raimond Gaita
Melbourne : Text Publishing, 1998

A very thoughtful and moving account by philosopher Raimond Gaita of his father’s struggles with poverty, migration and mental illness (both his own and his first wife’s). The narrative style is very simple and matter-of-fact, but the depth of thought shines through. Not quite a conventional biography, this book is more an account of a moral life, a son’s homage to his father’s great compassion and integrity of character in the face of adversity.

Gaita writes of how the idea of tragedy “with its calm pity for the affliction it depicts” was deeply impressed upon him by the events surrounding his family, such that he sought to depict them “as the victims of misfortune, in their different ways broken by it, but never thereby diminished.”  This rings true throughout the book. Romulus, My Father deserves to sit alongside other Australian classics of biography like A. B. Facey’s A Fortunate Life.

This a perfect book to read for Movember, being both a fine account of the male friendship between Romulus and Hora (and between Hora and the author), as well as a loving and keenly observed rendering of a father-son relationship in the absence of a stable mother figure.


Moreads from Denmark

November 29, 2011

Reading in Movember doesn´t have to all dark and scary but it could be an opportunity to read a man with a moustache that wrote scary Gothic tales in a way that inspired lot´s of mystery and detective fiction writers after him. The goth-father of scary stuff – Edgar Allan Poe…

I recommend the short story the Tell Tale Heart in which the narrator tells us he is perfectly sane and shares his story… And when you are done.. Read the black cat for more Gothic scariness by Edgar Allan MO (Poe)

Another world class writer with a very tiny moustache that has been mentioned several times as a possible receiver of the Nobel prize in literature is Bob Dylan. Lot´s of his texts can stand alone (but why should they?). His autobiography is amazing too – but I recommend that you read (and listen to) two texts from my favorite Dylan album – Time out of mind.

Standing in the doorway 

Not dark yet

A Movember read from the other side of the planet (If you are reading in Australia) – could be Danish author Jakob Ejersbo great novel Nordkraft. The award winning novel is about life with drugs in one of the bigger cities in Denmark: Aalborg. It is a well written story and you get to know the characters fights to get to the top of the drug environment, work their way to the bottom or follow their fight to escape the spell. Unfortunately Jakob Ejersbo died from Cancer at the age of 40 – so this is a real moread highlighting the importance of focus on men’s health.

Jan Holmquist

#moreads discussion tonight at 8.00pm

November 29, 2011

Have you been having fun with your #moreads this month?

Shearers with bales to be stripped to Junee railhead. George Howard (the selector) is seated against bale - Ariah Park, NSW, c. 1896

Come online  tonight at 8.00pm (AEST) to share your top #moreads, and to discuss what other people have been reading too.

#PictureBookMonth meets #moreads

November 28, 2011

November is a busy month. You know about Movember and #moreads, but do you also know it is Picture Book Month? Naturally, there’s an official blog and you can follow the hashtag #PictureBookMonth on twitter. As a Children’s and Youth Librarian, I’m especially interested in combining these reading themes. Given Movember raises awareness of male depression, I’m intrigued how picture books can contribute to conversations about depression, and offer help. So, in my opinion, the brilliant I had a black dog: his name was depression is a must-read this month. Written and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone, this book triumphantly discusses depression plainly and honestly, with a necessary gentle humour. This book is for anyone of upper primary age and above who lives with or has suffered depression, and for anyone who cares for or knows anyone with depression – i.e. everybody.

Most of the success of the book is because it is not condescending, preachy, or instructional. Based on his own life, Johnstone shares his journey with ‘the black dog’ through simple text and beautifully descriptive illustrations. The reader becomes a privileged confidant into this usually ferociously private condition. We follow the protagonist’s battle with depression as the black dog alters his mood, affects his thinking and disrupts his professional and personal life. Readers’ empathise as he experiments with coping methods (both successful and not), and struggles to keep his dog invisible, his relationship intact and his sense of self-worth positive. Finally, a successful “living arrangement” is arrived at, where the Black Dog and the protagonist respect each other, but it is a realistically hard journey with few guarantees. It is this raw authenticity displayed by the author/illustrator’s willingness to share all the elements of living with depression that encourages readers to share their feelings. As Johnstone writes:
“Black Dog had me believe that if I ever told anyone about him, I would be judged. The truth is, being emotionally genuine with close friends and family can be an absolute life saver. Letting the Dog out is far better than keeping him in.”
Mo Willems

For the younger kids, I highly recommend My friend is sad by the wonderfully talented Mo Willems. Not only is the author/illustrator named Mo (!), but this work is all about an elephant named Gerald who is sad. Gerald’s best friend Piggy discovers him sad and alone and vows to make him happy. To cheer up his friend, Piggy pretends to be “a cool, cool robot,” “a funny, funny clown” and other things Gerald loves. However, with each surprise visitor, the joy is only ever short-lived and Piggy does not know why. Finally Piggy discovers that, like all of us, Gerald misses his friend and wants to share his sadness and his joy with him. As the adage goes: “shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

By David Green AKA @dpgreen.

clean shaven moreads

November 25, 2011

This month we have been discussing lots of hairier writers and characters, but the clean shaven, or slightly stubbled male authors and characters also deserve a mention.  Writers like Matthew Reilly, Neal Stephenson, Ian Rankin, Neil Gaiman and Jamie Oliver are well worth exploring.  As well as writing books, Neil Gaiman, Jamie Oliver and Ian Rankin are very active on twitter, so you may enjoy following along here as well.  Wil Wheaton also active on twitter writes an engaging blog drawing readers in to the story of his life and ideas.
Wil Wheaton attempts to destroy the space/time continuum.

I am not sure where to fit in World of Warcraft to #moreads as some of the male toons are clean shaven, and some are quite hairy, but playing this games (as well as lots of other games) is a comfortable fit with #moreads.